Blog post

Postgraduate degrees: fees and funding

Ray Lock, Student Records and Fees Manager at the University of Derby, explores fees and funding options for postgraduate degrees.

By Ray Lock - 12 December 2019

Postgraduate loans are available to UK/EU students who undertake a full masters of 180 credits and have no previous equivalent level qualification. The maximum sum a student can apply for currently is up to £10,906 (this will increase in line with inflation for September 2020 entrants), which is paid directly into your bank account in three instalments per year, depending on the length of your course. For example, if you undertake the course over three years and start your studies in September, you will receive your loan instalments at an annual rate of £3,635, which is paid at £1,211 per term at the end of September, January and April. To access the funding, you must reside in England and be under 60 years old on the first day of your course. The loan is not income assessed and is available to all students who are eligible, irrespective of earnings. There are different rules for students from the devolved nations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

If you would like any further information you can contact the Student Records and Fees Team (SRF) at We can explain eligibility and any Alumni discounts that may be awarded should you have completed an undergraduate degree with us. If you are an overseas student then some scholarships are available - find out more about scholarships.

We also realise that each student is an individual and we appreciate a lot of our postgraduate students are mature; many come from different cultural and social backgrounds and have varying family demands which can impact on their study. This could be from childcare, to caring for the elderly, or having a disability - where different funding could be available such as the Disabled Students Allowance.

Our fees at Derby for UK/EU students are below the Postgraduate Loan available, so you have the opportunity to put some of the loan towards your accommodation, living costs and course expenses. You may just want to take a loan to cover your tuition fees, which is an option some students take. This can be amended during your course if necessary, as students who may initially only ask for a loan to cover their fees, can ask for more later on in the course.

Details about how to pay and the Payment Terms can be obtained from the SRF Team. We do not expect students to make a payment towards their tuition fees until they have received their Postgraduate Loan into their bank account and therefore allow a grace period of six weeks after registration on your course. Postgraduate loans are generally processed very quickly by Student Finance as they are not means tested, and we would expect all students to have their funding in place prior to starting with us. My advice would be to apply early - as soon as the application cycle opens in June for the forthcoming academic year. You only have to apply once for a Postgraduate Loan, not every year of study as with Undergraduate Loans.

If you are thinking of studying a PGCE or a Pre-Registration Masters in Health, these courses actually come under the Undergraduate Funding Regulations, where Tuition Fee Loans are paid annually to the University. You then receive any Maintenance Loans or grants directly into your bank account. The same rules apply for any Integrated Masters degrees.

In the unforeseen circumstances that you may have to withdraw from or suspend your studies, you will not be liable for the full loan of £10,609, but only for the payments you have received. Loans are repaid in the April after you graduate from your programme and only when you earn over £21,000. A deduction of 6% on anything earned over £21,000 will be deducted at source from your salary. This will be repaid on top of any Undergraduate Loans you may have and interest is currently applied at 6.3%.

My three main tips would be to:

About the author

Ray Lock
Student Records and Fees Manager

I am the Student Records and Fees Manager at the University of Derby, specialising in tuition fees and funding with over thirty years managerial experience and a strong financial background.